Revolutionizing the media with blog posts
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We’ve got a whole new Verge for you today. Radically new. Sometimes you just have to blow things up and start over.
Yes, we have a sharp new logo that started with the idea of an unfinished interface between the present and the future. Yes, we have a bright new color palette that highlights our work in confident new ways. Yes, we have new typefaces across the board, including serifs for our body copy. Look at these ink traps in our new headline font, Poly Sans. I love them.
All of those things were designed and developed with great care by Vox Media’s spectacular in-house design team, and they will serve as the foundation for our site and our brand for years to come. The Verge is meant to be beautiful and boundary-pushing, and our new design reflects that.
But new colors and typefaces are not the point of our redesign. Not even a little bit.
Our goal in redesigning The Verge was actually to redesign the relationship we have with you, our beloved audience. Six years ago, we developed a design system that was meant to confidently travel across platforms as the media unbundled itself into article pages individually distributed by social media and search algorithms. There’s a reason we had bright pink pull quotes in articles and laser lines shooting across our videos: we wanted to be distinctly The Verge, no matter where we showed up.
But publishing across other people’s platforms can only take you so far. And the more we lived with that decision, the more we felt strongly that our own platform should be an antidote to algorithmic newsfeeds, an editorial product made by actual people with intent and expertise. The Verge’s homepage is the single most popular page at Vox Media, and it should be a statement about what the internet can be at its best.
So we sat down and thought about what was really important to us and how to make our homepage valuable every time you open it. We also thought about where we came from and how we built The Verge into what it is today. And we landed on: well shit, we just need to blog more.
So we’re back to basics with something we’re calling the Storystream newsfeed, right on our homepage. Our plan is to bring the best of old-school blogging to a modern newsfeed experience, and to have our editors and senior reporters constantly updating the site with the best of tech and science news from around the entire internet. If that means linking out to Wired or Bloomberg or some other news source, that’s great — we’re happy to send people to excellent work elsewhere, and we trust that our feed will be useful enough to have you come back later. If that means we just need to embed the viral TikTok or wacky CEO tweet and move on, so be it — we can do that. We can embed anything, actually: I’m particularly excited that we can directly point people to interesting threads on Reddit and other forums. The internet is about conversations, and The Verge should be a place to find great conversations.
(Speaking of conversations, we are moving all of our comments to the Coral platform, which has tons of fun new community features. Our executive editor TC Sottek is so excited about it he wrote an entire post here.)
What’s most exciting about all this is that it will actually free up time for our newsroom: we won’t have to stop everything we’re doing and debate writing an entire story about one dude’s confused content moderation tweets. We can just post the tweets if they’re important, add the relevant context, and move on. That means we’ll get back hours upon hours of time to do more original reporting, deeper reviews, and even more incisive analyses — the work that makes The Verge great. It’ll also be easier for us to share our big investigations and features when they’re relevant to the news of the day — allowing us to showcase our incredible archive of award-winning work. Our art and video teams will now have access to our homepage in a way they’ve never had before; I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
Our former colleague Walt Mossberg always reminds me that reinvention is important; this new site represents the biggest reinvention of The Verge since we started the whole thing.
When you embark on a project to totally reboot a giant site that makes a bunch of money, you inevitably get asked questions about conversion metrics and KPIs and other extremely boring vocabulary words. People will pop out of dark corners trying to start interminable conversations about “side doors,” and you will have to run away from them, screaming.
But there’s only one real goal here: The Verge should be fun to read, every time you open it. If we get that right, everything else will fall into place. We are among the luckiest people in media because we have the audience that we do, and what we want more than anything is for that audience — for you — to feel how much we care. That’s been the secret to our success for nearly 11 years now: we care, very much, and it’s fun to care about something as much as we care about The Verge and our audience.
Many, many people at Vox Media bought into this vision of The Verge and our goals over a very long timeline: this project has been two years in the making. Our designers Miranda Dempster, Marcus Peabody, Ian Adelman, Nan Copeland, Eleni Agapis, and Derek Springsteen chased me down the silliest possible rabbit holes trying to figure out what blogging should look like in 2022. Our product managers Zahra Ladak, Tara Kalmanson, Marie Connelly, and Phil Hwang kept this very large product on track and brought it over the finish line in spectacular fashion. Andrew Losowsky and the Coral team built the exciting new Verge comment system.
Our engineering team under Kwadwo Boateng and Ken Peltzer created an entirely new frontend platform called Duet that will allow all of Vox Media to do equally ambitious experiments in publishing in the future. We couldn’t have done any of this without our stellar engineering team: Omar Abed, Ben Alt, Andrew Breja, Ambika Castle, Stefan Chlanda, Matthew Crider, Michele Cynowicz, Colleen Geohagan, Ruba Hassan, Jose Junior, Sean Kaufman, Konstantin Kopachev, Simon Korzun, Chi Vinh Le, Michael Manzano, Maria Jose Mata, Miriam Nadler, Jessie Rushing, Matt Singerman, Sammy Sirak, Lenny Sirivong, Thomas Stang, Jordan Stewart, Tessa Thornton, Kristin Valentine, Lucio Villa, Paige Vogenthaler, Grace Wingo, Nikolas Wise, Melissa Young, Nicole Zhu, and Joe Higgins. Our support and QA team Becky Becker, Jon Douglas, Steven Leon, Anh Phan,Mediha Aziz,and Miguel Abreu spent endless hours making sure everything works and looks good. (Note to Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok: make your vertical embeds behave! C’mon now.)
The Verge’s senior creative director William Joel spent countless hours working through all of these ideas with me. Alex Parkin, Amelia Holowaty-Krales, and Kristen Radtke on our tremendous art team spent hours making new visuals to use across The Verge’s platforms.
Alex Cranz, Richard Lawler, TC Sottek, Jake Kastrenakes, and Dan Seifert developed the editorial strategy for our Storystream newsfeed. David Pierce signed up to return to The Verge and spend his days posting to the feed within hours of seeing our new design. Our project manager Kara Verlaney makes the entire Verge go; she got us over the finish line to launch with major contributions from Ruben Salvadori, Esther Cohen, Nori Donovan, Sarah Smithers, Brooke Minters, Mariya Abate, Liz Hickson, Kaitlin Hatton, Eric Berggren, Gemma Paolo, Lauren Iverson, Liam James, Andrew Marino, Andrew Melnizek, and Nick Steinauer.
No editor has ever had a better partner than I have in our publisher Helen Havlak, who is a ferocious advocate for our team, our work, and our vision for the future of the site.
Building any new product is a huge investment — and a leap of faith — and I am particularly grateful for the belief and support of Vox Media’s executive leadership including Jim Bankoff, Pam Wasserstein, Chris Grant, Melissa Bell, Jen Cullem, and Chris George.
And lastly, my friend, cofounder, and former colleague Dieter Bohn and made one of the first prototypes of our new newsfeed in Google Docs almost two years ago. My dude: it shipped.